Iran's Destruction of Satellite Dishes and Launching of Channels
30 July 2016
By Tariq Alhomayed
The least that can be said about the Iranian authorities destroying 100,000
satellite dishes on the grounds that they breach regulations and threaten
moral, cultural and social values is that this act is ridiculous. It is also
evidence of the Iranian regime's lack of seriousness which some in the west
are trying to gloss over.
Iran did this at home while it continues to open and finance Arabic language
television channels in our region. In addition to this, it funds newspapers,
news websites and agencies and is behind several usernames on Twitter, some of
which are unclear and some fake, which aim to sow discord in our region,
particularly Saudi Arabia.
The matter does not stop here; in a previous interview with our newspaper, the
Bahraini Minister of Information said that there are forty television channels
funded by Iran that target Bahrain's security. It is clear to everyone that
Iran is doing this to implant its sectarian influence in the region, and this
is clearly evident in Lebanon where it funds newspapers and television
channels. Iran has also tried to infiltrate Egypt before.
Therefore, Iran's destruction of satellite dishes is ridiculous because it
knows that half of the battle is fought via the media, but is then irritated
by it and fears it. Iran does this whilst continuing to broadcast its poison
in the region. It was also irritated by the media saying that the Munich
attack was carried out by an Iranian and considers this to be defamation.
Meanwhile, the Iranian media adopts all discourse that is offensive to Saudi
Arabia, and Sunnis in general! The truth is, and let us be honest with
ourselves, that the Arab stance, especially that of the moderate states, is
also surprising. Where is our unshakeable media? Where is our influential
audio-visual and written media? Where is the media that addresses sensible
people, strengthens the positions of friends, counteracts the sceptics and
Are you talking about a television channel? I am talking to you about the need
for television channels. Are you talking about a newspaper? I am talking to
you about the need for newspapers and websites! Are you talking about Twitter?
Then you're living in a virtual world. Twitter is just a vessel, and is a
trend that will be followed by another. I am talking about means of
communication that are credible, informative, provide the opinions of experts,
broadcast serious discussions and programmes and that produce knowledge. I am
talking about a cultural project that will begin with serious centres of
studies. We are talking about institutions, not individual efforts.
Saudi TV, for example, is undoubtedly and effortlessly influential at home and
abroad. Are prayers from the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina and official
news bulletins that attract high ratings really beneficial? Saudi TV was a
theatre of creativity and in spite of all the phases that it has gone through
and that the country has experienced, is it still like this now?
If Iran is aware of the seriousness and importance of the media but is
experiencing difficulties with it, what we are waiting for? Why are we leaving
the arena open to Iranian interference which sees the media only as a medium
for its campaigns? We have a truthful message and a real project but why is it
that we get lost in interpretations that are mostly from the virtual world?
Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr.
Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current
affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous
positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the
first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a
bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah.
He is based in London.